Framing Gun Control

The phrase "gun control" limits debate too narrowly and brings to mind Big Brother.
The phrase “gun control” limits debate too narrowly and brings to mind Big Brother.

NRA opponents have been emphasizing gun-violence prevention rather than talking about gun control. This is because gun-violence prevention is the movement’s goal. Gun control is only one means among many toward that end. “Violence prevention” wisely and accurately evokes the values of safety and security.

What should supporters of gun-violence prevention be called?

"Gun-violence prevention" brings hope and prudence to mind.
“Gun-violence prevention” brings hope and prudence to mind.

19 thoughts on “Framing Gun Control”

  1. It’s important to remember that the NRA no longer represents ordinary gun owners. Instead, it is a hugely successful lobbying organization largely funded by gun manufacturers and retailers. Some gun owners are realizing this and withdrawing their support from the NRA. They understand that the regular, panicky “Government is going to take away your guns” letters are designed to exploit their fears and raise more money the organization can use to further the interests of their genuine masters.

  2. Long form: Gun control organizations believe that only bankers, celebrities, politicians, and the people working for them should have guns because their lives matter more than the lives of those without seven figure bank accounts.

      1. Look at John Edwards’ “Two Americas” speech. Just about everything about it was true.

        Gun control regimes ALWAYS have special carve outs in the law for those in the ruling class.

        1. Do you mean the speech he gave to the 2004 Democratic National Conference? I couldn’t find any references to guns in that speech, but he made a lot of good points about the rising inequality of America, and I’m concerned about that, too.

          Can you give an example of a carve out in a law about deadly weapons that exempts more privileged people?

          1. NYC’s ownership permit process involves nearly $500 in fees and an incredible amount of duplicative paperwork done in person at an office that is barely ever open. Then the gun can be retroactively banned on the city council’s whim!

            It is just like what the Republicans try to do with stopping the poor from voting.

  3. Why should people be disallowed a basic means of self defense and be forced solely rely on a police force that is not even legally obligated to protect individuals? Read the Warren v DC court decision.

    1. To me, street smarts are basic defense, not guns. If guns were basic defense, I think that would mean that civilization has broken down as in the world of Mad Max. I’ve never needed or wanted one, not even when living in a slum. When in that slum a man pressed a knife to my throat, I knew better than to threaten or attack him.

      The issue, as I see it, is that all Americans have a right to expect safety in public and a responsibility to behave in public in ways that do not endanger themselves or others. Carrying a loaded deadly weapon in public, even when properly licensed, always presents the danger of accident or misuse. As a guy that can be both clumsy and scatterbrained, even if you trained me to do it safely, I’d be terrified of forgetting a detail and accidentally hurting someone.

      In the hypothetical case that someone pulled a weapon on me, if I pulled out mine, now there would be two people brandishing deadly weapons–a far more dangerous situation. If the twenty others around me pulled out theirs, then there would be twenty-two deadly weapons. I’ll watch that scenario in a movie because in the movie, everyone would survive the shootout unharmed, but I don’t want to live in that movie.

      Because carrying deadly weapons in public can impose costs on society such as damage to property, injury, death, and the resulting police investigations, trials, and imprisonment, I think it’s completely fair for governments to require that weapons be registered and that a fee commensurate with the risks and costs be charged.

      This is the same logic behind state requirements that motorists register to drive and carry insurance, pay vehicle taxes, and carry liability insurance on their vehicles. While most people most of the time drive safely for lawful purposes, cars are dangerous. They damage property, are used to commit crimes, and kill people by accident or on purpose. Driver-safety courses probably do increase safety but do not eliminate danger.

      It seems that you teach gun safety, and if so, I’m glad you do. I hope your customers are among those that carry deadly weapons as safely as possible.

      1. Nobody is trying to force you to own a gun. How you live your life is your choice.

        I would rather not be legally forced to put myself at the mercy of people who have none.

        Again why should a basic means of self defense be denied to responsible citizens simply because they are not govt officials or wealthy?

        Why should people be forced to rely on the police for their safety when courts have ruled that there is no right to police protection nor a right to be safe in public?

        1. I hear that it’s very important to you to possess deadly weapons. It sounds like you would feel vulnerable without them. Your feelings are important, and I want you to know that I have no wish to take away your weapons.

          But my feelings also matter, and I would feel vulnerable when surrounded by civilians carrying deadly weapons. As stated above, I would feel vulnerable then even if I carried a weapon myself because to me, they bring danger, not protection.

          As stated in the original post, the goal is violence prevention. We have many means to achieve this goal. Much violence is related to poverty and the social inequality with which you and I are both rightly concerned. Our first priority should be to reduce these and to enlarge the middle class again. Among other benefits, this should help reduce gun violence with no changes in law regarding weapons.

          The first and best way to reduce and prevent poverty is a strong job market in which everyone that wants work can get and keep a job that pays a living wage. The next best way to prevent and reduce poverty is a strong system of social insurance such as Social Security and Medicare. These systems are under daily attack and need our defense.

          When the job market and social insurance fail to prevent poverty, public assistance becomes important. This also is under daily attack.

          Another approach is to build a strong sense of community. Have you noticed that most mass shootings attack strangers? Creating a strong community identity should help increase safety. Neighborhood watches and community policing should help.

          Distrust of the police has been a big problem for some in my city and has made some people reluctant to help police solve crimes that involved deadly weapons. If you don’t trust the police, then I hope you’ll make your concerns known to the police department if you haven’t already and work to make the department more responsive to your area’s needs. Building this trust should help reduce violence.

          These are just a few ways to approach violence prevention, and I hope we could find some to agree on and work for.

          As stated above, because weapons are dangerous and impose costs on society, it isn’t only a matter of individual rights and choice. It’s completely appropriate for weapons to be registered with the authorities and a fee commensurate with the social costs charged.

          As for the $500 NYC weapon registration fee, that is an amount that most anyone that really wanted to could save up over time if a deadly weapon were that important to them. For example, in his book Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money, the author invites the reader to first save $1,000. He says, “Most people can come up with $1,000 in a month if they make it a priority. If you’re making less than $20,000 a year, you can cut this down to $500, but get it done” (p. 9). I don’t see the fee as excluding anyone from weapons ownership, and if it makes some think and sacrifice to get the permit, that would seem like a good thing because getting a weapon is a serious decision and commitment. Getting one should not be so easy as to be done casually.

          What court decision are you referring to? If it’s true that a court ruled that citizens have absolutely no right to police protection, that would be an offense against democracy and should be protested, not by arming everyone, but by restoring police protection as a right.

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